Here’s a dirty little secret. I love public speaking. For some reason, getting up in front of a group and sharing my thoughts isn’t that daunting for me. I actually enjoy it.
Here are some tips I’ve learned over the years:
- Speak from your heart: Make sure you’re speaking about something that you are passionate about. If you believe in what you’re saying, the words will flow naturally.
- Focus on the message, not the words: Don’t focus on this sentence or that phrase; focus on the message. Understand what you want to communicate and express the idea in a conversational tone. This will enable you to react to the audience and will make your communication more natural.
- Tell stories: Stories tend to be engaging, personal, and interesting. When making a point, try to use a personal experience, or story, to communicate the idea.
- Be confident and be yourself: You were asked to speak for a reason, so don’t try to be someone else. Relax, no one in the audience wants you to fail.
- Don’t overprepare: At the risk of stirring up controversy, I’d recommend that you don’t spend too much time preparing (most every other blog or article you find on public speaking will recommend that you “practice, practice, practice“). I tend to develop my thoughts, review them once or twice, and then get on with it. If you’re not used to speaking in public, you may need to review and refine your thoughts a few more times, but overpreparation tends to lead to overthinking, which may psyche you out.
Do you speak in public? If so, what rules of thumb do you live by? If not, why not?